Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nonprofit Hospitals Seek Profits Overseas

Jacob Goldstein notes in the WSJ Health Blog that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is teaming up with GE to open cancer treatment centers in Europe and the Middle East. An AP story in the International Herald Tribune on the deal states that the partners are aiming to treat as many as 10 million new cancer cases a year. So is this a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-like push to help health care in third-world economies? Hardly. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, it's all about the money: Chuck Bogosta, president of UPMC's division of International and Commercial Services, told the PBT that in the U.S., "cancer centers become profitable between three months to a year after opening. . . The centers in Ireland have taken longer to ramp up, becoming profitable in one to two years." But the current move will now enable UPMC "to be a little more proactive in going after the markets." In other words, its all about seeking out profits in new markets.

Goldstein notes that UPMC is not the only nonprofit hospital doing overseas deals. The Cleveland Clinic is expanding to Abu Dhabi, "which is not exactly a suburb of Cleveland." No kidding . . .

So, UPMC has a "Division of International and Commercial Services," eh? The Cleveland Clinic is expanding to Abu Dhabi. Now, tell me again why nonprofit hospitals ought not to be taxed like big (and international) businesses?

JDC

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